Posted On: 06/01/2007
My small city back yard has been through a three-year campaign. The tame and wild have complicated and haunted, forcing what should have been a one-spring prune/dig/plant/mulch project into three years of rigmarole.
Among those in my back yard who have laughed at my sweating and toiling with a dull spade: a Soulard Farmers’ Market escapee guinea hen with a sunrise call so loud and creepy it forced me to buy earplugs; a menacing yet harmless 120-pound Doberman so smart he lets himself in through the gate (I think you know what he then does.); and eleventy billion dandelions so virile they spread
Finally, heading into this summer, my back yard has taken shape. Enclosed by a wooden fence, canopied by trees now lushly green and grounded by fecund mulch, exploding hostas and red brick pavers, my very private back yard is perfect for sipping beers and eating pork steaks at dusk. Ultimately, it is intimacy in environment and company that makes my back yard interesting. That same type of intimacy makes this month’s Scene topic a worthwhile nightlife visit.
Readers of this magazine know much about the sublime cuisine at Terrene, which Sauce readers voted as their favorite new restaurant in last year’s poll. You know about the local ingredients, the eco-friendly operation and, probably, the frites. But, as a nightlife option, probably nothing. Recently, in addition to its 5-to-7 p.m. weeknight happy hour, Terrene launched a 10 p.m.-to-midnight happy hour in the bar on Friday nights, hoping to draw those who socialize late(r) at night. It’s a valiant effort, but one that, for the temperate months at least, may fail for one monumental reason: Terrene’s intimately magnificent patio. For three years I hustled at home for what I can get at Terrene now ... sans toiling, sans guinea hen and with much better pork and service. All of Terrene’s creative drink menu, all of its Belgian beer and all of the frites can be had on the two-tiered, wooden-fenced, brick-paved patio.
At Terrene, you won’t meet a hookup/future spouse, but do bring a hookup/future spouse with whom to converse, feast and – for me, at least – imbibe. Duvel and Czechvar beer? Check. Seasonal fresh-fruit cocktails? Check. Australian Shiraz? Check. Currently, the “dress-down casual” late-night food menu is only available at the bar, but, while the weather allows, I urge management to offer the same inside as out. Keep that patio open later as well.
But suppose it rains or, as is likely all too soon, you don’t want to perspire into your mussels. Terrene’s bar can keep you dry and cool with a flat-screen HDTV showing the game, immediate drink service and – on many nights, at least – a Lincoln-driving regular who could roll with Paulie Walnuts or Liberace any day of the week. Heavy in gold jewelry, this dude sits alone at the bar, sipping Jim Beam out of a faceted crystal goblet. I like him. Hell, he deserves his own column.
The straight 411 ...
To save yourself the backyard toiling, head to Terrene to drink, feast and court a date on a patio equal to or better than your own.
In the summer, a good patio at a bar is the equivalent to a crackling fireplace in a ski lodge on a wintry evening: essential. Terrene in the Central West End not only offers a bustling patio filled with hip and environmentally conscious thirtysomethings but also live entertainment, drink specials and great food – a quadruple treat on the
St. Louis scene.
Terrene is all about being green, making everything as environmentally and health-friendly as possible. From the enormous wine list filled with organic wines to the shetkastone tables, the place makes sure it’s at one with both Mother Earth and health-conscious soccer moms. Even the used cooking oil from the fryers is sent to a woman to use as fuel for her biodiesel car. Now that is dedication.
Terrene’s green philosophy even extends to its happy hour – through your wallet, that is. Happy hour at Terrene’s bar is Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. and features $2 Bud products, a $2.75 Schlafly special and $5 wine deals available in one red and one white selection. The menu’s small plates are also offered at half price, a great deal on great food. A late-night happy hour is also offered on Fridays from 10 to midnight – a true coup for those seeking solace from the pricey club scene but still looking to make an appearance amongst the St. Louis scenesters. The only downside is that it doesn’t include the
And more’s the pity that happy hour isn’t offered on Sundays, when there’s live jazz on the patio.
The small plates at Terrene are absolutely amazing, offering something special to both those who choose not to eat things that once had a pulse (the restaurant was Sauce readers’ pick for favorite vegetarian fare in 2006) and to omnivores. The frites – hand-cut fries with black pepper salt served with pickled onion mayo and spicy horseradish ketchup – have such an original flavor that I can’t get enough of them. Everything is delicious, decadent and somewhat healthier than the traditional bar fare.
There are a few downsides to Terrene; the service we received in the bar during happy hour was not the best. Our server sometimes seemed perturbed that we were making her work. On another visit, though, the manager came by to check on us, and he was very friendly and cordial.
Overall, Terrene goes beyond the expected bar scene with its exotic flavorings, stylish setting, lush patio and diverse menu. Its vast wine selection and doable happy hours should make other establishments green with envy.
The straight 411 ...
For a green scene that offers more than tofu and salads, head to Terrene to get your vegetarian on with your meat-loving mate. It is a great place to try new things while sipping on an
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